NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks are enjoying their best
stretch of the season, and they know who is mostly responsible for
Stephon Marbury had 23 points and a season-high 15 assists, the
final one setting up rookie David Lee for the tiebreaking basket
with 21 seconds left, and the Knicks beat the Seattle SuperSonics
120-116 Sunday for their season-high third straight win.
Playing 44 minutes without injured guard Jamal Crawford, Marbury
had only turnover.
"When Marbury gets 15 assists and one turnover without Jamal in
the game, you realize why we won," Knicks coach Larry Brown said.
"He was phenomenal."
The Knicks' first three-game winning streak since last February
coincides with Marbury's best span of the season. He is averaging
23.5 points and 12 assists over the last four games -- all since he
was criticized by Brown following a poor performance in a loss to
Orlando when he was 0-for-7 from the field.
"It is everyone. It is not just myself," Marbury said. "We
are just more comfortable. We have a really nice flow right now."
With the game tied at 113 after Ray Allen's miss, the Knicks ran
the shot clock down before Marbury found Lee in the corner for a
"My man really has to make a decision whether to give Stephon a
layup, because Stephon's going to usually 80 percent of the time
get by his man, or step up and give me that jump shot," Lee said.
Seattle had a chance to tie, but Luke Ridnour -- who came into
the game shooting a league-leading 95 percent (76-of-80) from the
line for the season -- missed two free throws with 9.8 seconds
remaining. Trevor Ariza rebounded and was fouled, making both free
throws for a four-point advantage.
"The first one just rolled off," Ridnour said. "Unfortunately
you make so many in a row and then you miss those. I can't explain
why. It's real disappointing I'm going to make those nine out of 10
Brown couldn't explain it either.
"Trevor, who's not a great free throw shooter, hasn't been in a
lot of crucial situations, he gets a rebound and makes two," he
said. "David makes a jump shot, which is something he passed up
about five or six opportunities. ... a 95 percent free throw
shooter misses two. I don't know. Those things are hard to
Vladimir Radmanovic's eighth 3-pointer made it 117-116, but
Robinson answered with two free throws with 6.1 to play. Allen was
surprisingly open for a tying 3-point attempt but missed, and Lee
made one free throw for the final margin.
"I had a great look at it," Allen said. "After the shot,
after I missed I was just thinking to myself I could have even take
a dribble because I was so wide open."
Radmanovic scored a career-high 30 points, including 16 in the
fourth quarter. He scored five straight points to give the Sonics a
113-111 lead with just over a minute remaining before Curry tied it
for the final time with two free throws.
Allen scored for 33 points for the Sonics, who fell to 1-2 since
firing Bob Weiss and replacing him with former Knicks coach Bob
Hill. Rashard Lewis added 19.
"They did a lot of good things tonight," Hill said. "In spite
of losing the game, I have to feel good about the progress that
we've made in a short amount of time."
The Sonics shot 64 percent in the first quarter to open a 35-25
lead. Robinson scored seven straight points to key a 12-2 run that
gave the Knicks a one-point lead with 1:52 remaining in the half,
and Seattle took a 61-62 lead into the break.
Allen scored 22 points in the half.
There were eight lead changes and four ties in the third
quarter. Marbury scored 11 straight New York points, and his
layup with 1 second remaining gave the Knicks a 91-89 lead entering
the final period.
The Sonics lost for the first time in four Sunday games
this season. ... Knicks swingman Quentin Richardson returned after
missing three straight games with back spasms. ... Crawford missed
his second in a row because of sprained left foot.
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